February 1, 2023

Astronomy 2022: Top Skywatching Events for the Coming Year

The course of the Moon continues to roughly follow the ecliptic airplane in 2022, as we head towards the high years around the Major Lunar Standstill in 2025. We likewise have 12 Full Moons and 13 New Moons in 2022, with the 2nd New Moon of April on the 30th being a Black Moon. And while 2 Full Moons (aka Supermoons) fall near lunar perigee in 2022 on July 13th and August 10th, no Full Moons fall within a day of apogee in 2022
Lunar Occultations in 2022.
The Moon sweeps out a half degree broad path through the sky on its trek, periodically passing in front of a planet or star. In 2022, the Moon occults 3 worlds 7 times, including:
– May 27th: The 11% lit up waning crescent Moon occults Venus for Madagascar.
– June 22nd: The 33% illuminated subsiding crescent Moon occults Mars for Antarctica.
– July 21st: The 39% lit up subsiding crescent Moon occults Mars for NE Asia.
– October 24th: The 1% illuminated waning crescent Moon occults Mercury for NW North America.
– October 25th: The slim crescent Moon occults Venus for South Africa, only an hour after a partial solar eclipse.
– November 24th: the 1% waxing crescent Moon occults Mercury for Antarctica.
– December 8th: the Full Moon occults Mars (at opposition) for North America and Europe.
The occultation footprint for the Moon versus Mars on December 8th. Credit: Occult 4.2.
The Moon versus stars- The Moon does not occult a +1 magnitude or brighter star in 2022
The Very Best Asteroid Occultations in 2022.
These are harder events to capture, as the shadow of a distant asteroid briefly passes in front of a distant star. Still, such occasions can yield information of the asteroids position, size and shape … and sometimes, small orbiting moonlets even make themselves understood.
Here are the top asteroid occultations (+6 magnitude stars only) for 2022:
-514 Armida occults a +6.8 magnitude star on March 12th for South America.
-410 Chloris occults a +6.4 magnitude star on May 11the for Australia.
-23 Thalia occults a +6.7 magnitude star on October 4th for eastern Canada/USA
The Planets in 2022
Were coming off of 2020 and 2021s intricate series of shared events for the Galilean moons, as Jupiters outermost major moon Callisto ends shadow transits in July 2022, and wont start to do so once again until 2025, heralding the next series of eclipses and occultations for Jupiters significant moons. Saturns rings head towards edge on in March 2025, and are slanted about 12 degrees open, with the northern hemisphere of the world tipped towards the Earth in 2022. Finally, Mars is at opposition at the end of the year, though oppositions for the Red Planet are getting closer to aphelion this decade, and are getting increasingly undesirable now until 2029.
Heres the finest times to catch the outer planets in 2022:
July 20th-Pluto at opposition
August 14th-Saturn at opposition
September 16th-Neptune at opposition
September 26th-Jupiter at opposition
November 9th-Uranus at opposition
December 8th-Mars at opposition
Transits of planetary system objects in 2022 through SOHOs LASCO C3/C2 field of visions. Credit: Worachate Boonplod.
Likewise, we have another period on time where you can see all five planets in the dusk sky at the same time at the end of 2022, from December 1st to January 5th, 2023.
Meanwhile in the inner planetary system, razor thin Venus reaches inferior conjunction between the Earth and the Sun on January 9th, casting its radiance back into the dawn sky for most of 2022 afterwards.
Venus at inferior combination in 2018. Credit: Shahrin Ahmad.
Inner worlds- Mercury reaches biggest elongation 7 times in 2022, While Venus does so when:
– January 7th: Mercury at greatest eastern (sunset) elongation, 19.2 degrees from the Sun.
– February 16th: Mercury at greatest western (dawn) elongation, 26.2 degrees from the Sun.
– March 20th: Venus at greatest western (dawn) elongation, 46.6 degrees from the Sun.
– April 29th: Mercury at biggest eastern (dusk) elongation, 20.6 degrees from the Sun.
– June 16th: Mercury at biggest western (dawn) elongation, 23.2 degrees from the Sun.
– August 27th: Mercury at biggest eastern (dusk) elongation, 27.3 degrees from the Sun.
– October 8th: Mercury at greatest western (dawn) elongation, 18.0 degrees from the Sun.
– December 21st: Mercury at biggest eastern (dusk) elongation, 20.1 degrees from the Sun.
Combinations in 2022
Conjunctions are pairings of brilliant stars or worlds. Here are the absolute best conjunctions of naked eye planets and stars for 2022, with separations of less than a degree:
April 5th-Mars from 18 Saturn (53 degrees west of the Sun at dawn).
April 30th-Venus from 12 Jupiter (42 degrees west of the Sun at dawn).
Jupiter fulfills Venus on the morning of April 30th. Credit: Stellarium.
May 29th-Mars from 36 Jupiter (64 degrees west of the Sun at dawn).
August 4th-Mercury from 42 Regulus 19 degrees east of the Sun at dusk).
September 5th-Venus from 42 Regulus (13 degrees west dawn).
Comets at Perihelion in 2022
Comets come and go, and often over- or under-perform versus forecasts. In the previous 2 years, we had 2 comets show up and flirt with naked eye visibility: F3 NEOWISE in 2020, and A1 Leonard in 2021. You simply never ever know when the next great comet will show up. Here are the perihelion dates for periodic and known long-lasting comets incoming to view for peaking over +10 th magnitude in 2022:
– January 3rd: Comet C/2021 A1 Leonard (magnitude +4 in the constellation Piscis Austrinus, 37 degrees from the Sun).
– January 11th: Periodic Comet 104P/Kowal (magnitude +9 in Cetus, 79 degrees from the Sun).
– February 1st: Periodic Comet 19P/Borrelly (magnitude +9 in Pisces, 70 degrees from the Sun).
– April 20th: Comet C/2021 O3 PanSTARRS (magnitude +5, 17 degrees from the Sun).
– April 26th: Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova (magnitude +9 in Aries, 8 degrees from the Sun).
– September 1st: Periodic Comet 255P/Levy (magnitude +9 in Cancer, 30 degrees from the Sun).
– December 19th: Comet C/2017 K2 PanSTARRS (magnitude +6 in Pavo, 37 degrees from the Sun).
Meteor Showers in 2022
Meteor showers are constantly enjoyable to expect, with no devices required: simply a dark sky and a working set of Mk-1 eyeballs. One shower worth viewing for in particular in 2022 is the June Boötids hailing from the Comet 7P Pons-Winnecke, which just reached perihelion simply in 2015. Here are meteor showers to look for the 2022, with a favorable Moon less than 50% illuminated near the respective peaks:
January 3rd– Quadrantids peak at ZHR ~ 60, with the Moon a 1% waxing crescent.
The glowing for the elusive January Quadrantids. Credit: Stellarium.
May 6th– The Eta Aquarids peak at ZHR ~ 50, with the Moon a 27% illuminated waxing crescent.
June 27th– The June Boötids peak at ZHR ~ 50, with the Moon a 2% lit up subsiding crescent.
July 30th– The Delta Aquariids peak at ZHR ~ 30, with the Moon a 3% lit up waxing crescent.
October 21st– Orionids peak at ZHR ~ 20, with the Moon a 16% illuminated subsiding crescent.
November 17th– Leonids peak at ZHR ~ 20, with the Moon a 40% brightened subsiding crescent.
December 22nd– Ursids peak at ZHR ~ 50, with the Moon a 15% subsiding crescent.
In the deep-sky department, 2 significant double stars reach periastron or apastron in 2022:
-13 Ceti (magnitudes +5.6, +6.9) and a minimum separation of 0.3″ in 2022, with a 6.9 year duration
– Tau Cygni (magnitudes +4, +6) and an optimum separation of 1.0″ in 2022, with a 50 year duration
You can check out everything about double stars with orbits you might endure and a lot more in our brand-new Deep-Sky Field Guide.
Will the next fantastic Comet of the Century make itself known? Get prepared for another exciting year of astronomy 2022.
Lead image: Comet C/2021 A1 Leonard charmed observers at the end of 2021 into early 2022. Credit: Michael Jäger.
Additional Sources:
Asteroid occultations: https://www.asteroidoccultation.com/2022-BestEvents.htm
Comets: https://people.ast.cam.ac.uk/~jds/preds22.pdf
All Five Planets Visible: https://www.universalworkshop.com/2021/12/18/all-five-again/
Meteors: https://www.imo.net/
Comets: http://www.aerith.net/
Lunar occultations: http://www.lunar-occultations.com/iota/iotandx.htm
Eclipses: https://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/
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The active Earthward face of Sol at the end of 2021. Credit: NASA/ESA/SOHO
Heres what were eagerly anticipating in the sky in 2022. Lets begin with the extremely best of the best for the year;
Top 10 Astronomical Events for 2022
– Solar cycle 25 heads towards its peak
— January 3rd: Comet A1 Leonard reaches perihelion
– January 3rd: The Quadrantid meteor shower occurs near New Moon
— April 30th: Partial Solar Eclipse
— May 16th: Total Lunar Eclipse
– October 4th: Asteroid 23 Thalia occults a +6 th magnitude star
— October 25th: Partial Solar Eclipse
— November 8th: Total Lunar Eclipse
– December 8th: The almost Full Moon occults Mars
— December 8th: Mars at opposition
You can see a broadened, extensive list of occasions for the coming year in our book The Universe Todays Guide to Viewing the Cosmos and Guy Ottwells brand-new digital Astronomical Calendar 2022 Well also be tweeting all of the huge action in 2022 as @Astroguyz on Twitter.
Eclipses in 2022.
There are 4 eclipses in 2022 (the minimum that can take place in a calendar year), 2 solar and two lunar.
A tale of 2 total lunar eclipses in 2022. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Fred Espenak.
Those four eclipses are:
– April 30th: a 64% partial solar eclipse preferring the SE Pacific and southern South America.
– May 16th: a total lunar eclipse (totality is 1 hour and 25 minutes in duration) favoring the Americas, Europe and Africa.
– October 25th: an 86% partial solar eclipse preferring Europe, NE Africa, the Middle East and western Asia.
– November 8th: a total lunar eclipse (totality is also 1 hour and 25 minutes in period) preferring Asia, Australia, the Pacific and the Americas.
The October 25th partial solar eclipse. Credit: AT Sinclair/NASA/GSFC
The Sun, Moon and Seasons in 2022
The biannual solstices and equinoxes mark the start of the huge seasons. Either equinox in September and March are great times to expect peaks in auroral activity, through a phenomenon referred to as the Russell-McPherron impact. In 2022, aurorae in basic needs to end up being more regular, as Solar Cycle 25 heightens. The equinoxes likewise mark the start of geostationary satellite flare and eclipse season, as the distant satellites rise briefly into naked eye exposure, just to be extinguished as they struck the Earths shadow. And speaking of satellites, the International Space Station enters spans of full lighting near either solstice, with sighting chances favoring the northern hemisphere in June, and the southern hemisphere in December.
Here are the seasonal dates and more for 2022:
January 4th: Earth is at perihelion.
March 20th: Northward equinox.
June 21st: Northward solstice.
July 4th: Earth is at aphelion.
September 22nd: Southward equinox.
December 21st: Southward solstice.

Meteor showers, eclipses and a fine opposition of Mars peak astronomy 2022.
2022 offers another great sky seeing year. 2022 guarantees more of the very same, as the solar cycle heads towards an active optimum in 2025.

The path of the Moon continues to roughly follow the ecliptic airplane in 2022, as we head towards the high years around the Major Lunar Standstill in 2025. We likewise have 12 Full Moons and 13 New Moons in 2022, with the 2nd New Moon of April on the 30th being a Black Moon. And while 2 Full Moons (aka Supermoons) fall near lunar perigee in 2022 on July 13th and August 10th, no Full Moons fall within a day of apogee in 2022
Were coming off of 2020 and 2021s intricate series of shared occasions for the Galilean moons, as Jupiters outer major moon Callisto ends shadow transits in July 2022, and wont begin to do so again up until 2025, heralding the next series of eclipses and occultations for Jupiters major moons. Here are meteor showers to see for the 2022, with a beneficial Moon less than 50% illuminated near the particular peaks:

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